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I would echo the same. I use the pro.... with C kegs. When cold crashed, I rack it to corny kegs. the adapters make it easy to use either.

On a different topic, anyone ever used a traditional Norwegian kveik yeast in a pico pak? The fermentation range up to 98 degrees combined with the valve for fast ferment, seems attractive. I wonder if 3-5 days fermentation is actually reality. I was looking at the Gjernes farmstead, Voss Kveik’s profile looked pretty darn good.

Anyhow, if anyone used those in the past, I'd love to hear more.
This would be interesting, turn some brews around within a week or two finished product. Let me know if you try this and how it goes.
 

rex clingan

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Hi, new here, occasional lurker. Just bought a Picobrew S 2nd hand for a ridiculously low price. Previous brewing systems: Braumeister 50L, 50 gallon propane fired ss brewhouse.

In trying to understand how the Pico works, searched the net for flow diagrams. Which led me to a patent site. Which led me to a Google Patents search on Picobrew.

Where this caught my eye - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170051236A1/en?assignee=picobrew&oq=picobrew&page=1

Do the Picopaks really use lecithin to improve hop utilization? And rice bran/magnesium oxide to extend hop life?
 

Mutant

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Hi, new here, occasional lurker. Just bought a Picobrew S 2nd hand for a ridiculously low price. Previous brewing systems: Braumeister 50L, 50 gallon propane fired ss brewhouse.

In trying to understand how the Pico works, searched the net for flow diagrams. Which led me to a patent site. Which led me to a Google Patents search on Picobrew.

Where this caught my eye - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170051236A1/en?assignee=picobrew&oq=picobrew&page=1

Do the Picopaks really use lecithin to improve hop utilization? And rice bran/magnesium oxide to extend hop life?
Just curious if you like paying roughly $2 a beer and have to make it yourself? Do the math: cost of Picopak/#12ounce bottles produced
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Well, one can use their own ingredients now which would lower the cost some, though I would not generally recommend it. Just BIAB small batches on the stovetop.
 

rex clingan

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Just curious if you like paying roughly $2 a beer and have to make it yourself? Do the math: cost of Picopak/#12ounce bottles produced
No plans to buy any 'paks, so, nope. Will likely use the ones that came with it, but it'll basically be the own ingredients approach.
Mostly got it as a small capacity sweet wort & wort appliance, for malt flavor and balsamic/solera brewing projects.
 

Mayday99

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Ok, bought a pico c off ebay on a whim for 100 bucks. What the heck.
I was able to:
  • Connect to wifi and get update
  • Deep clean and multiple rinse cycle
  • Experiment with manual brew option
So I noticed on manual brew, I set the step temp to 149. Stopped it and took a reading from the step drawer and it read about 140. returned drawer and set to max of 203 then set to hold for 5 minutes. Pulled out drawer and took reading. It was about 191. This is using a thermapen that I know to be accurate.

Is this a pico thermometer issue? Or some wrinkle of a herms type system that I am not understanding?
 

rex clingan

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Ok, bought a pico c off ebay on a whim for 100 bucks. What the heck.
I was able to:
  • Connect to wifi and get update
  • Deep clean and multiple rinse cycle
  • Experiment with manual brew option
So I noticed on manual brew, I set the step temp to 149. Stopped it and took a reading from the step drawer and it read about 140. returned drawer and set to max of 203 then set to hold for 5 minutes. Pulled out drawer and took reading. It was about 191. This is using a thermapen that I know to be accurate.

Is this a pico thermometer issue? Or some wrinkle of a herms type system that I am not understanding?
Did you get readings on temperature from the panel that matched the setpoints?
Some thoughts:
1) Maybe Pico reads temperature in a different location, maybe closer to the steam injection point.
2) Maybe temperature in these two tests was still rising when measurement made. Not sure what rate the pump is good for, but the time constant for seeing a change in the step filter would be its volume over the pump's volumetric rate.
3) Could be a bad temperature sensing element.
4) Could be an offset in the design, intended to give a process result comparable to that in a conventional system at the input temperature.
5) HE in HERMS stands for heat exchanger. With steam injection, there isn't a heat exchanger per se. The process could be referred to direct contact heat exchange. Live steam is the term usually applied in distillation, steam sparging in a pot, steam injection in a pipeline. Not sure if anyone has coined an acronym for how the Pico mashes. RIMS seems closer than HERMS to me.
6) More data would be useful. More points along the measured vs. setpoint curve. More points in the profile of measurement vs. time for the input temperatures investigated.
7) Time permitting, I'll try these same tests on my Pico S.
8) Seems like there's a hot rodder's trick to get engine management electronics to respond differently, involving wiring a potentiometer either in series or parallel with the temperature sensor.
 

Mayday99

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Lot of food for thought there, Rex! Thanks. I'll try and slip a temp probe in there so I can monitor in real time. As it is the machine seems to read about 10 degrees higher than what the temp in the step filter actually is, but would be Interesting to monitor over time.
 

rex clingan

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A question about the Pico S/Pro: at the back left corner of the reservoir, there is a plastic hose, and a built in clip that it seems like it would fit in. As received from the PO (2 batches total use), this hose was floating free, and seemed to have a short plastic sleeve covering the end of it. I pulled the plastic bag off the end and set the hose in the nearby clip, where it seems to be effective at draining the reservoir.

I don't see anything in the manual or on this thread that suggests any issue with how this is set up. What is it supposed to look like?
 

rex clingan

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Lot of food for thought there, Rex! Thanks. I'll try and slip a temp probe in there so I can monitor in real time. As it is the machine seems to read about 10 degrees higher than what the temp in the step filter actually is, but would be Interesting to monitor over time.
Another thought, getting a temperature of wort in the keg might be a better indicator of batch, since it's downstream of the thermoblock and where most of thte mass of liquid resides.
 

Lbarouf

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This would be interesting, turn some brews around within a week or two finished product. Let me know if you try this and how it goes.
I am planning my next brew and will order some of that yeast. Hopefully I will be able to report/comment back in a month or so. I’ll be glad to share as I have not heard anything from anyone else so far.

I just need to pick a recipe to experiment with.
The recipe tool is fixed at 5L. Argh....
 

Mayday99

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So I am guessing the picoferm doesn't work with manual brew? Not sure I understand the point of it.

While waiting over a week for my pico paks to ship, I made a nut brown ale. Made it on the stronger side so to unknown efficiency. Little over 4 pounds of grain.

I deviated some from the instructions. I preheated the mash water . Dropped my grain bag in making sure to stir and move it around. Mashed for an hour at 154 stopping half way to stir again. Did a 10 minute mash out at 170. Stopped the machines and pulled the grain bag our. Let it drain and then I sparged it with about 20 oz of 175 water. Did the boil and circulate steps as directed . Hit 5l exactly into the keg so glad I sparged. Wort tasted great.

Didn't get reading since I got rid of all my. Brew equip and have no hydrometer.

Picoferm attached but apparently for no reason. I was able to register it but unable to use on manual brew
 
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So I am guessing the picoferm doesn't work with manual brew? Not sure I understand the point of it.

While waiting over a week for my pico paks to ship, I made a nut brown ale. Made it on the stronger side so to unknown efficiency. Little over 4 pounds of grain.

I deviated some from the instructions. I preheated the mash water . Dropped my grain bag in making sure to stir and move it around. Mashed for an hour at 154 stopping half way to stir again. Did a 10 minute mash out at 170. Stopped the machines and pulled the grain bag our. Let it drain and then I sparged it with about 20 oz of 175 water. Did the boil and circulate steps as directed . Hit 5l exactly into the keg so glad I sparged. Wort tasted great.

Didn't get reading since I got rid of all my. Brew equip and have no hydrometer.

Picoferm attached but apparently for no reason. I was able to register it but unable to use on manual brew
Per Pico forum, functionality of PicoFerm with manual brews is available with Zymatic.
Functionality of PicoFerm for manual brews on other products supposed to be forthcoming.
When....?
 

Mayday99

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Per Pico forum, functionality of PicoFerm with manual brews is available with Zymatic.
Functionality of PicoFerm for manual brews on other products supposed to be forthcoming.
When....?
Thanks for the update. Seems the machine and system has potential, but am underwhelmed with what the company has delivered so far.
 
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A question about the Pico S/Pro: at the back left corner of the reservoir, there is a plastic hose, and a built in clip that it seems like it would fit in. As received from the PO (2 batches total use), this hose was floating free, and seemed to have a short plastic sleeve covering the end of it. I pulled the plastic bag off the end and set the hose in the nearby clip, where it seems to be effective at draining the reservoir.

I don't see anything in the manual or on this thread that suggests any issue with how this is set up. What is it supposed to look like?
Suspect that manufacturing neglected to attach hose to port.
A couple of pics:


0B67BE85-77AD-436D-80F4-9D6CBF316763.jpeg
3B566BDF-210A-42DC-AA05-4CE99C6826DF.jpeg
 
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Ok, bought a pico c off ebay on a whim for 100 bucks. What the heck.
I was able to:
  • Connect to wifi and get update
  • Deep clean and multiple rinse cycle
  • Experiment with manual brew option
So I noticed on manual brew, I set the step temp to 149. Stopped it and took a reading from the step drawer and it read about 140. returned drawer and set to max of 203 then set to hold for 5 minutes. Pulled out drawer and took reading. It was about 191. This is using a thermapen that I know to be accurate.

Is this a pico thermometer issue? Or some wrinkle of a herms type system that I am not understanding?
Were you able to register your PicoC with PicoBrew?
 

Mayday99

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Were you able to register your PicoC with PicoBrew?
No. But I did do a manual brew and have some picopacks on the way. I tried to register but it said the machine Id number was in use . Don't care that much as long as it works.
 
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No. But I did do a manual brew and have some picopacks on the way. I tried to register but it said the machine Id number was in use . Don't care that much as long as it works.
That is why I asked. You probably won’t be able to see Brew history of PicoPaks.
FWIW, Here is info regarding reassigning used equipment:

Buck49 - 6/8/2019
As their are some good used Pico products for sale and I have a friend in the market, I reached out to Pico support regarding reassigning the equipment to a new owner. I thought I would share Tim's response:


"For anyone who is looking to sell/buy a second hand Pico we need the following from the current owner:

- the exact date of sale
- new owners first/last name and contact email

Once we have that, we'll need the new owner to create an picobrew.com account with their profile completely filled out and saved (required - shipping address, phone number, full name) and then we can assign the machine to the new owner.
-Tim"
 

Mayday99

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That is why I asked. You probably won’t be able to see Brew history of PicoPaks.
FWIW, Here is info regarding reassigning used equipment:

Buck49 - 6/8/2019
As their are some good used Pico products for sale and I have a friend in the market, I reached out to Pico support regarding reassigning the equipment to a new owner. I thought I would share Tim's response:


"For anyone who is looking to sell/buy a second hand Pico we need the following from the current owner:

- the exact date of sale
- new owners first/last name and contact email

Once we have that, we'll need the new owner to create an picobrew.com account with their profile completely filled out and saved (required - shipping address, phone number, full name) and then we can assign the machine to the new owner.
-Tim"
I reached out and asked to transfer it. We'll see what happens
 

rex clingan

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Anyone know why Picobrew opted for plastic poppets in the quick disconnects on the S keg hoses?
 

rex clingan

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For a manual brew on a Pico S/Pro/C, how likely is it that grain conditioning would be beneficial?
 

Mayday99

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Was able to get the pico transferred to me. Ordered a couple packs out of curiosity and to level set as to what the system is capable of.
Ordered "Vessel of Shimmy" which I am guessing is a Chimay clone. They are using extract to bump to 8% abv and brown sugar in place of dark candy sugar. BE256 is the yeast. Hoping to get an airlock into the pico c since I don't want to suppress esther production on a belgian yeast. Here are ingredients. Note the magnesium oxide confirming someone elses earlier observation on the use of isomerized hop pellets.
15694423277922222941691808997859.jpg
 

rex clingan

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Was able to get the pico transferred to me.
Hey, did you add it to your equipment settings? How did you get it to display the code needed for this? I just plugged in a used Pico S I got. It logged onto my wifi and updated the firmware. Scratching my head over how to get it to display the code needed.
 

Mayday99

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Hey, did you add it to your equipment settings? How did you get it to display the code needed for this? I just plugged in a used Pico S I got. It logged onto my wifi and updated the firmware. Scratching my head over how to get it to display the code needed.
It's in one of the utilities I believe. Under about. It scrolled a very long code repeatedly in addition to the software version. The long code is the pico I'd. I sent an email with that Id to support to get the ball rolling.
It's worth it to do it. Gives access to a manual brew builder as well although kind of clunky. At least gives an estimate on efficiency and ibu that does seem to be adjusted for this unit.
 

rex clingan

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It's in one of the utilities I believe. Under about. It scrolled a very long code repeatedly in addition to the software version. The long code is the pico I'd. I sent an email with that Id to support to get the ball rolling.
On a previous unit I registered, the code the mothership liked was 6 or 7 characters. It may not have appeared until Picobrew released the machine on their end. I guess it will take either the id as you describe or the code.
Have you figured out how to get into service mode?
Want the instructions for priming the pumps?
 
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Mayday99

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On a previous unit I registered, the code the mothership liked was 6 or 7 characters. It may not have appeared until Picobrew released the machine on their end. I guess it will take either the id as you describe or the code.
Have you figured out how to get into service mode?
Want the instructions for priming the pumps?
I haven't turned it on since it was activated, but I'd happily take any info you have.
 

rex clingan

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I haven't turned it on since it was activated, but I'd happily take any info you have.
Service menu: turn on while holding in selector knob.

"Here is how to prime the drain pump -
  • Fill your step filter with 2 inches of warm water, and connect a keg wand to the grey ball lock fitting. Run this hose into a sink or receptacle.
  • Access the Utilities menu, and select 'Drain Step Filter.' Do you hear the pump turn on when you do this?
  • If water does not begin draining from the step filter, try drawing (sucking) on the keg wand to prime the pump.
  • If you feel resistance, disassemble and check the drain port in the step filter to ensure that it is clear of debris (see attached picture).
  • If the drain port appears to be clear, leave the step filter removed from the machine, and while 'Drain Step Filter' is running, try drawing on the end of the hose again. If you do not feel resistance, the issue is within the step filter.
If you feel resistance, Try the following:
  • Fill the step filter with about an inch of water and insert it into the machine.
  • Fill your brewing keg about 2/3 full, then seal it with the black keg seal, inserting the plug into the hole so that it is air tight. Connect the keg to the machine.
  • Power on the machine while holding in on the knob, this will pull up a service menu. While in this menu be very careful to only do exactly as instructed.
  • Click once to skip past machine info, and select 'Circulate.'
  • What should happen is that the keg pump will drain water from the keg, creating a vacuum which will draw water through the drain pump line, clearing the line and pulling water through to prime the drain pump.
  • Let this run for about 5 minutes, then remove the black seal from the keg. Does water appear to be draining into the keg?
You may need to try these steps a few times. "

". . . prime the shuttle pump in your Pico (reference the pictures and video I've attached).

This should help set your Pico right and get you ready to brew again without incident.

First, prep your Pico like you're going to perform a rinse cycle.

Next, you'll grab the hose that is to the left in your reservoir and remove it, pull off the sock on the end (do not lose the sock!).

Then get the syringe and fill it with water. Start the rinse cycle and inject water into the hose. You should start to feel the hose vibrate. If not, refill the syringe and repeat. This may take multiple tries.

Once you get that going with the hose, reattach the sock and reset the hose back.

Continue to run the rinse cycle for a few minutes to monitor the flow of water.

Attachment(s)

Shuttle pump.mp4https://picobrew.zendesk.com/attachments/token/c4iZkEs3TLSdqgXiy9aaRsTs0/?name=Shuttle+pump.mp4

https://picobrew.zendesk.com/attachments/token/HnlL8f051fTV0bj0SYnBGmwS3/?name=04.jpg

https://picobrew.zendesk.com/attachments/token/B41oQ8WZcXhjuX2OgAFEBkMjg/?name=22222.png "
 

rex clingan

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Dumb idea for manual brewing: Connect as per 'pak brewing, insert sous vide stick into keg.
 

Blucolt

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After 7 months of pico brewing it's now confirmed I am missing a part! LOL It's just a hose clamp but I've had wort go all over the place once before and found the hose disconnected. Never realized it was suppose to be clamped. Today I heard it pop off 5 minutes from the end of brewing and then there was a puddle of wort on the counter. This time I reminded them of my issue before (which occurred at the same time roughly as the failed shuttle pumo).

That's when they answered back that they are sending me a clamp. I am attaching the photo that I sent them so you all can check to see if you have a clamp on all 5 tubes that connect in the bottom next to the shuttle pump. The black clamps do not show up against the black plastic so I didn't notice the clamps on the other hoses.

View attachment 409181
I have had hose trouble as well. I’ve had to correct multiple bends in poorly routed hoses to avoid leaks. Are all your hoses relatively rigid? All mine but one seem pretty flimsy, and those are the ones that are kinking. How do you remove those black clamps you are talking about?
 

rex clingan

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I assumed they were zip ties. Diagonal wire cutters aimed at the fattest point is how I'd go at it.
 

Cathedral

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Hi everyone. Wooo, it's been a long time since I've been on this site. I used to do all-grain BIAB a few years back and had many thousands of dollars wrapped up in the setup. I loved it but, life happened and I ran out of time. Couldn't see myself ever having enough time to pull a full brew day anymore so I gave all my equipment to a buddy. Of course, the desire to homebrew never left.

A few weeks ago my boss tells me Pico is having a PicoC sale for $199/each. I'd heard about Pico before but kind of wrote it off. But, at that price, I couldn't really say no. So I dove in.

So far I've only done one batch and it's actually fermenting right now so I can't attest to the finished product. That actually starts out one of my biggest concerns about the thing: I don't understand how the airlock/fermentation is supposed to work and I can't find any good literature that explains it. I have hundreds of all-grain brews under my belt so I know how it's supposed to work but the little umbrella valves make me nervous. I think next brew I might just rig a standard airlock into it so I can watch it ferment.

Overall the appliance was very, very easy to use. I brew the "half-squeezed" IPA picopak and it was painless. Smelled great, temps looked good watching it on the log, and it was cool seeing it go through a stepped mash. Lots of hops and they smelled fresh-ish; grain seemed good too. Of course everything was sealed but not vacuum sealed so that means it had a chance to oxidize. We'll see when I finally get to taste it. I'm definitely ordering the "unpak'd" kit so I can take all my old recipes and modify.

I opened up the grain pak when it had cooled down so I could check the crush and the utilization. To my dismay, there was a section along of the walls that was dry. This is to be expected, of course, when you only have one inlet for water and no way to stir the mash. I also noticed that there were multiple crushes. Maybe each grain was a different crush or it was all standard 2-row crushed different ways; I don't know for sure but it obviously affected the flow and absorption. The dry grain had a good crush, same as what I would crush to when I was brewing BIAB, but the other grain/crush was way too fine and compacted and probably did not get a good sparge. Luckily it was towards the back and not along the bottom or I think it might have gotten stuck.

Pre- and post clean was super easy, but without being able to look inside I can't tell how effective it was. I used a distilled water and star-san solution for both rinses. I'm super paranoid about sanitization with brewing and as any old hat will tell you, DON'T FEAR THE FOAM, so when I buttoned up the fermenter and resevoir there was starsan foam and it caused no issues. I did read a review somewhere from a user that did a pre- and post-rinse after every brew, and did a deep clean and still got some debris out of it so I'll probably do a deepclean a bit more frequently than the every 3 uses they recommend. We wait too long for good beer and it's not worth waiting for spoiled beer!

Back to the fermenter, I just can't bring myself to ferment at the high temperatures they suggest for "fast fermentation." It goes against everything I know and I sure don't want a banana flavored IPA because I brewed at 77F. No thank you, I'll wait. Thankfully I still have my temperature controlled fermenter (aka deep freezer, natch) and I'll let it sit for 14 days and cold crash. But again, I really don't like not being able to see the activity and I'm just sitting here wondering if I have a stalled fermentation. Argh!

I think it's a good system, and I look forward to many more uses. Not having to bust out all the equipment and fire up the propane burner and clean clean clean is nice, as well as not having to monitor the mash. Oh, another thing I don't like is not having a counterflow chiller anymore. Taking a hot fermenter and just letting it sit until it cooled down takes away another step of something I used to have control over. I guess I just need to relax and trust the system. Maybe when i can finally take a sip of that first beer.

tl;dr- I like it.
 

aamcle

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Good Afternoon All.

I'm interested in how the hops and adjuncts are handled by the Picobrew, I've not found one but is there a diagram or schematic or even a good text description of how it works anywhere?

I've found the patient drawings but that's about it.

Thanks. Aamcle

I miss the thread tools, search in thread :( :(
 

prospero

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So.... what #'s do y'all use for manually brewing on the Pico C?

I estimated the following:
(based on Pico Pro Crafter https://picobrew.com/Z_Crafter/Z_BiB.cshtml)

Brew-house efficiency: 50%
Hop utilization: ~35% of normal utilization (3.5%-14% range, this is terrible)

Do you all design the manual brew recipe on ProCrafter, then buy your own ingredients?

For example, I took the recipe I built in ProCrafter and tried to replicate the recipe in brewersfriend.com :
https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/923671/juicy-banger-pico
 
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Cathedral

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Good Afternoon All.

I'm interested in how the hops and adjuncts are handled by the Picobrew, I've not found one but is there a diagram or schematic or even a good text description of how it works anywhere?

I've found the patient drawings but that's about it.

Thanks. Aamcle

I miss the thread tools, search in thread :( :(
There are four spots for hops or adjuncts that can be added at different times during the "boil." Each spot has it's own jet of water and can be timed to add early or late depending on the amount of utilization you want out of your hops.
 

Sebastian Weetabix

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So.... what #'s do y'all use for manually brewing on the Pico C?

I estimated the following:
(based on Pico Pro Crafter https://picobrew.com/Z_Crafter/Z_BiB.cshtml)

Brew-house efficiency: 50%
Hop utilization: ~35% of normal utilization (3.5%-14% range, this is terrible)

Do you all design the manual brew recipe on ProCrafter, then buy your own ingredients?

For example, I took the recipe I built in ProCrafter and tried to replicate the recipe in brewersfriend.com :
https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/923671/juicy-banger-pico

If you are asking about the Pico C, then why duplicate a recipe for the Z? Your grain bill is over the amount for the C by nearly a pound.
What am I missing?
 
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Has Everyone seen this, if not I will just leave it here for digestion.

Picobrew Up for Sale!


GeekWire Article
From Kevin, PicoBrew employee, posted on Pico Brew forum:
  • Picobrew in financial difficulty
    Kevin - 31 min ago
    As you may have heard, we are currently in the process of being sold through the WA State Receivership process. The party of investors who have been funding the operation of our company over the last year have submitted a bid and plans to continue its support during this process. We anticipate no interruption of sales or support to our valued customers during this period.
 
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